Microsoft Test Drives Another Blogging Tool

'The Spoke,' a new community site radiating from Microsoft's Academic Developer Division, is aimed at university students.

Microsoft Corp. may not have an official corporate policy on Web logging, or blogging. But that isnt stopping the Redmond, Wash., software vendor from setting up hosted blog communities, left and right.

The latest Microsoft-sponsored blogging site is called "The Spoke." It is a project of Microsofts academic developer group and seems to be targeted primarily at university students.

Check Out The Spoke Here

So far, The Spoke seems to be in an early public test phase. There are about a dozen registered community members, or "hubbers," participating in the message boards.

Within the past few days, Microsoft added a Real Simple Syndication (RSS) feed capability to the site.

Microsoft itself isnt hosting the site. According to the "About" page for The Spoke, Microsofts entry is hosted by a company called Smooth Fusion of Lubbock, Texas. Smooth Fusion has worked with Microsofts developer division before on collateral for the MSDN Academic Alliance.

The Spoke is "almost a competitor to LiveJournal, Blog*spot, etc.," said one individual evaluating participation, who asked for anonymity.

LiveJournal and Blog*spot are hosted personal-publishing tools.

One of the Academic Developer team members is Microsoft blogger Mario Jobbe. Jobbe posted an item about The Spoke on October 8:

"If you havent already, make sure you check out theSpoke. Its a new online community for students into technology, and one of my main projects here at Microsoft. If youre interested in starting a blog, theSpoke is a great place to do it. Theres currently a splash page up; the real site will go live in early November. Stay tuned for more information..."

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